Rasmus Elm sparking Arsenal interest | Jack back February | Champions League draw

by & filed under News Review.

'Paint these Wayne'

Well hello! I’m sure you’re wondering what this new design is all about? Well, I am too. Yesterday morning the site started crashing intermittently, I asked my host what I’d done and he informed me that the theme I was using had more issues that John Terry’s personal life. To rescue the site, I had to transfer over to a temporary theme. So, here we are. I’m not a fan, but it works. The comment section isn’t the best, but we’ll have to make do while the bespoke build is put together. That should be ready by early January… so not too long!

The big talking point today for Arsenal is obviously around who we can draw for the Champions League last 16.

  • Napoli
  • CSKA Moscow
  • FC Basel
  • Lyon
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Zenit St Petersburg
  • AC Milan

Personally, I don’t think there is too much for us to fear in that group. Milan and Napoli are probably the top two for quality, you wouldn’t want to have to head to Russia if you could avoid it, outside that, I’m not overly fussed. I think we could beat any of those sides on our day and there certainly isn’t a Barcelona or Madrid in there to make you fear for qualifying for the next round. The benefits of topping your group eh?

I spoke to Arsenal America last night for a podcast which was great fun. One of the questions they raised was the possibility of buying in a left back. This is a really interesting topic for me because I’m not sure we can. We have a 26-year-old Brazil international and a very young future England hopeful who is raw at the moment. What can we possibly do in the transfer market outside a loan deal… and please don’t tell me Wayne Bridge is a good option. The guy is more interested in painting his girlfriends finger nails than playing any sort of competitive football. I think we’re going to have to lump this one…

Transfer rumours are flying all over the place, Podolski is apparently being watched by us on Friday night. I always wonder why we send scouts to the ground. Those hotel bills and plane tickets soon rack up in cost. Steve Rowley should just ask the Grovers if anyone has a live stream to the games, I’m sure they’d help.

According to the Mail, we’re also looking at Rasmus Elm. He sounds like an Scandinavian bush, but I’m sure he plays better than one. His Grimantube video seems to indicate he is a set piece master, scorer of corners and a bit of an all round tough guy on the pitch. He looks suited to the Premiership, whether he has the x factor when it comes to quality is another question.

I’ve still no real clue where we’re going with this transfer window. Rest assured, I’ll ask nearer the time… Pam has been quiet of late.

I didn’t mention the fact Arsenal lost in the FA Youth Cup, mainly because I’m generally more interested in painting Frankie Sandford’s finger nails than I am in watching youth team games.

We lost, John Toral landed himself a meaty black eye, that’s the end of that. Coquelin has been quoted saying he’s ‘flattered’ that Lille are interested in him. He wants game time, I like the fact he’d take a loan spell to get it. I’m not sure he should go though, he’s ahead of Frimpong in the pecking order and I can’t imagine Song will stay fit/not need a rest all season.

Other than that, enjoy the draw. United and City fans won’t be. Ha… ha…. ha.

Have a great day, see you in the comments!

P.S. I was told yesterday The Times gave Dennis Bergkamp the greatest Premier League goal of all time for this peach… I haven’t corroborated it, but any excuse to show it again I’ll take! Oh, and Jack will be back for Mid-Feb, it’s already creeping out!

Torres / Podolski talk hots up | Arsenal kid leaves, Rosicky might | Cesc says bitchy things…

by & filed under News Review.

So, Cesc has been saying things behind our back about competition for places. The little swine reckons if Barcelona lose there’s no dinner after. At Arsenal, everyone goes to Nandos. How could you Cesc? How could you?

Personally, I’d say that type of comment is a reflection of character and leadership style. If Cesc was there handing out loyalty vouchers prestamped after a loss, whose fault is that? Sure he has to work hard for his place, he’s one of fifteen going for that centre midfield position. Does Messi compete for his position? Does David Villa? Does Puyol? Probably not…

In Arsenal news, Peter Hill-Wood has been exchanging quotes for saucy pictures with the Daily Star again. He reckons Robin is happy and wants to stay, he just hasn’t signed a deal yet. Now, I’m sure we’ve been here before?

Peter is easily pleased.

I know it’s sinful to make mention of it, but think about this. £180k per week for him to stay, over 4 years. Is that good business? Take the emotion out of it, take this season out of it and look at the facts. Is that good business? It’s a 50/50 gamble. Having the best striking talent on the planet on the treatment table is only good for Colin Lewin’s morale (they have great banter).

A couple of names doing the rounds yesterday were Podolski and Torres. The German is a player I’ve watched many times, he’s gone on the record to say he’d only move abroad, which smells like a come and get me plea.

“Moving to another club within the Bundesliga is something I can hardly imagine. If I decide to leave Koln, it will be to move abroad,”

He has pace to burn, he’s strong, aggressive and he is very direct. He doesn’t dazzle but he’s effective. 14 goals in 15 this year tells a story. He’d give us cut through and you know what you’d be getting from him. I think another workman like attitude in the dressing room would be great. I’d see him as left of the front three.

The other is Torres. Rumour has it Chelsea might look to offload him for £20million. Does that sound realistic? Well, no. But this is Chelsea. Anything is possible. Would I have him? Abso-bloody-lutely. The guy is world-class, of that I have no doubt. He’s one of the top three strikers on the planet when he’s on form. He can play up top on his own and he’s strong, skilful and spectacular. He’d also be grateful, like Cesc was when he was rescued from his £100k a week London hell.

I don’t know what has gone wrong at Chelsea, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Look at Sneijder at Madrid or Theirry at Juve. The only concern would be fitness, but if that could be managed, it’d be a superb move.

The other less credible story was that Barca were going to let Villa go because he and Messi don’t like each other. You can just see that can’t you, flogging the most potent finisher on the planet because of a man tiff.

On the outbound list is rumoured to be Rosicky. Wolfsburg are interested, his contract is up in June, we might be able to make a few pounds. He’s an enigma, so much technical ability, so much skill but so little impact. His best year was 2008 but even then, I always wondered what his purpose in the team was. He doesn’t score, he doesn’t assist… he doesn’t age. He seems to grow younger. Word has it he’s been spreading Robins horse placenta on his face. Being injured that often you’ve got to entertain yourself somehow.

Alban Bunjaku has quit the club. I’m pretty devastated. That name is incredible. It sounds like a some sort of sexual asphyxiation finishing move. He’s from Romford as well. Not that I’m from Romford. I just know where it is. No seriously, I’m not from Romford, stop saying it. Anyway, I’m gutted all the same. Future match reports won’t be the same without him, still, at least we still have Jack Jebb.

I’m already getting goosebumps at the prospect of Sundays show down. Should be a massive game and a real test of progress. If we lose, well, it’s expected. Any set up that looks vulgar compared to Chelsea should be dishing out a thumping. That’s why I think there could be an upset. We’re so written off it feels like the makings of a Christmas miracle. I like miracles.

Follow @LeGrove

Right, that’s me done for the day… see you in the comments and don’t get Bunjaku on your trousers!

Arsenal after player who is footballing heaven | Sacking managers | Milan full back available

by & filed under Match report.

Good morning sports fans! How are we all feeling today? Christmassy? Like you’re about to burst? Or just settling into that perma-hangover feeling?

Ahhh me too… If I were breathalysed for the tube every morning I’d have had my season ticket revoked and a £400 fine to deal with.

Anyway, onto the news. Gibbs could be back for Boxing Day. All Colin Lewin wanted for Christmas was a fit full back and it looks like his dream has a chance. He was first choice earlier in the season and he had a few smart games so hopefully he can stake a claim over the next few months and heaven knows, maybe stay fit for more than 3 games!

There’s a good article about Stan and his under-achieving St Louis Rams (Written by Bryan Burwell, I love American names, say that in an American accent at your desk now, go on, it’s great fun). The fans are demanding Stan fire their jerk manager, Stan is saying niente. He’s cleared it with Billy Beane who says the current manager, Steve Spagnuolo (I can’t pronounce that name, boooo), is his hero.

The jist of his thought process is that new managers make mistakes but given time can rectify them. A nice way of thinking I guess. If you invest in someone you believe in and you sack them, you’re actually denegrating your judgement.

Trouble is, how long do you give these days? How long is acceptable when managers are on such monster contracts? In a world where one bad season can undo 5 years good work, how long can you afford to let a manager flounder?

Look at Arsenal. It took a while but in the end, we paid for a lack of football ambition when our two best players said they’d had enough. Our form was that of a club in relegation over 26 games. The club held strong when many wouldn’t, has it paid off? Well, the ship has been steadied no doubt. Will it last? I don’t know… ask Billy Beane. What I do know is Arsene has a great chance in January to make some inspired signings and kick us onto the path of global domination.

We’re sniffing around the Argentine Lucas Biglia. He plays for Anderlecht and he’s reported as creative midfielder though it looks like he plays as a ball winning centre midfielder from the extensive research I’ve undertaken. He’d cost £9million and no one had heard of him before. He’s exactly the sort of player Wenger would snap up.

I say this every year, but we should be sniffing around the second strings of the elite. There are always bargains to be had for good young players cast aside and older experienced players who haven’t worked out. Big teams collect top talent they don’t need. Taiwo, the ex-Marseille full back is struggling in Italy. Barcelona players like Maxwell and Adriano out of the starting line up, Madrid have players like Sahin, Albiol and Altintop not getting games (they might be injured,  but you get my point). I still like Mahamadou Diarra, I think he’s available on a free transfer at the moment. There must be RvDV deals floating around this January…

Still, at least Wenger isn’t ruling anything out and my new best friend Ivan Gazidis did hint at signings. I do like it that Wenger always refers to the economy, a constant reminder about his degree. You know, like irritating friends who drop travel stories into conversations if you’re eating something oriental, like a prawn cracker. Bore off…  no one cares how many pink dolphins you saved in Peru on your 2 week package holiday.

Anyway, my point about the economy is that sure, it’s not in great shape but preaching to people who are actually living the consequences is a bit patronising. When you have £40mill in personal savings you’ll not be affected. When your company has bullet proof TV revenue streams, you’ll generally be ok as a club. We should be using these testing times to hoover up the best talent on the cheap. What’s the point in being the richest and not using your cash wealth to make poor clubs feel inferior and fearful? You know, poor clubs like Spurs who have been delisted in the hope of raising £400million for a new stadium. Good luck with that Levy, good luck!

Follow @LeGrove

Anyway, let me know who you’d like us to sign in January and I’ll knock together a Giles Grimantube report later in the week!

P.S. The Americans have a good way of selling tickets back to the system here.